The fact that twelve of the world’s richest billionaires together emit almost 17 million tons of CO₂ and other greenhouse gases is a cause for concern, according to a report by The Guardian. This is equivalent to the annual emissions of 3.8 million gasoline cars or the energy consumption of 2.1 million homes.
The research behind these conclusions was conducted by scientists Beatriz Barros and Richard Wilk, as well as analysts from the NGO Oxfam. They examined how many homes and luxury yachts the billionaires own, how they travel, and what financial investments they make.
The findings show that while their luxury yachts, private jets, and mansions contribute to pollution, it is their financial investments that are causing the most harm to the planet and society. According to Alex Maitland, inequality policy adviser at Oxfam, with their enormous emissions, the ‘one percenters’ are hitting the planet and especially the lowest layers of society particularly hard.
Oxfam believes that heavy taxes on the wealth of the super-rich can help reduce inequality and finance a transition to renewable energy. The report also advocates for greater transparency in financial practices to ensure that wealth is being used for social good rather than contributing to environmental degradation and social injustice.